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Saturday, May 7, 2022

New music variety from Maggie Rogers, Wilco, Grand Splendid, Bear's Den, Sally Dige

Maggie Rogers: That's Where I Am

The singer-songwriter's second album (or fourth, if you count two self-released sets) won't be out until late July, but this first single is moving quickly up the charts. NPR writes: "Stuttering electronics and handclaps underpin the momentum that builds through the song's first minute, but then Rogers opens a floodgate of sleek guitar distortion, bassy synth and gated reverb on crashing drums." At heart, it's a simple love song, about a relationship that starts out a bit rocky but works out well: "Wish we could do this forever / And never remember mistakes that we made ... It all works out in the end / Wherever you go, that’s where I am."

Wilco: Falling Apart (Right Now)

Wilco has long lived along the vague border between alt-country and indie-rock. They veer sharply to one side of the line on their upcoming album, a 21-track extravaganza called Cruel Country. Bandleader Jeff Tweedy says country music "has always been the ideal place to comment on what most troubles my mind – which for more than a little while now has been the country where I was born, these United States." Most of the album was recorded in live takes at the Loft in Chicago.

Grand Splendid: Heartstrings

This Montreal indie-rock band is back with its third single, leading up to an album expected later this year. The three songs so far demonstrate a good range of sounds: A touch of cosmic rock on "You Are the Universe," traces of Beatles influence on "Magic" and an echo of 80s bands like Dream Academy on this new track. Lead vocalist Julian Buchbinder says overall, the LP features "a lot of guitars and vocal melodies," with some upbeat songs and some more melancholic. "We think that they work well together as a whole."

Bear's Den: Blue Hours

The U.K.-based band is about to release its fourth studio album, Blue Hours. The songwriting duo of Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones say the title track "is a song about communicating with someone that’s hard to reach. It’s this idea of trying to have a conversation with someone through one-way glass, where they can’t even see you and there’s a real disconnect with how you’re communicating. On one level, it’s also an internal thing, where you’re trying to get through to yourself.” .

Sally Dige: I Will Be the Sun for You

A Danish-Canadian artist based in Berlin, Germany, Dige has released two albums and a handful of singles over the past several years, but this is the first to reach our ears. We're told her sound has evolved over time from disco-inspired electro, to post-punk, to synth-based "ethereal new romantic" and now to indie pop. After releasing an album composed and recorded entirely on one synthesizer, Dige says, “the natural form of self-rebellion was to pick up instruments that didn't need electricity to function, and play with strings and the hands again." Mandolin and balalaika are among the instruments heard on this upbeat, uplifting song.

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